Ghana Medical Centre to open end of July

The University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) will be opened to the public by the end of July, the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu has assured.

 

The delayed operationalisation of the US$217 million ultra modern facility has triggered public outcry leading to a social media campaign under the hashtag OpenUGMCNow.

 

The campaign led to the arrest of a pharmacy student of the University of Ghana, Reginald Sekyi-Brown last week by the Korle Bu police for displaying a placard with the inscription “OpenUGMCNow” at an event where the First Lady was cutting a sod for the construction of a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.

 

Responding to questions in Parliament yesterday over when the 597-bed facility, which was inaugurated in January 2017 by former President Mahama would be opened, Mr Agyeman-Manu said the general public could access health care at the facility latest end of July.

 

“Mr Speaker, the presidency under the leadership of the Chief of Staff (Frema Opare) has constituted a technical team to see to the operationalisation of the Hospital” the Dormaa Central MP told his colleagues.

 

According to him, “the team has recently presented their report and some proposals have been made”

 

Plans, Mr Agyeman-Manu said were underway to appoint the required immediate staff for the facility as well as the management structure to run the hospital.

 

Asked if the government was attempting to impose management of the hospital on the University of Ghana, who in principle ‘owns’ the facility, Mr Agyeman-Manu said the government was only collaborating with the university in the management of the centre.

 

Stressing that “the hospital will start [operating] as soon as practicable” the Health Minister said the contractor was still owed to the tune of “about” GH¢10 million.

 

He said a loan facility of GH¢50 million to commence the construction of the second phase in earnest has been contracted and would be brought to Parliament soon for approval.

 

Meanwhile, Mr Agyeman-Manu said the Volta Regional Hospital will soon be elevated to a teaching hospital status.

 

He said following a consultant’s report on the elevation, “a memo has been submitted to Cabinet for approval.”

 

“As soon as Cabinet approves [the consultant’s report] the conversion process shall commence.”

 

Also speaking on the stalled Kumawu District Hospital project, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu said work on the facility had stopped due to the expiration of the letters of credit backing the loan.

 

The Health Minister said the Ministry of Finance was currently in discussion with the UKEF and the contractors on strategies to extend the credit facility adding that the ministry had sanctioned an audit on the project being conducted by Crown Agents Ghana Limited.

 

In view of this, the minister said his outfit was currently awaiting an approval for the extension of the loan from the finance ministry and once that was done “works would resume.”

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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